Documenta 13

One could argue that the thirteenth edition of Documenta, the Kassel quinquennial that ran for one hundred days last summer, was the most Bidoun ever.

Vishal Jugdeo’s Goods Carrier

Jugdeo’s video employs minimal means to inhabit his own outsiderness.

Zahi Hawass

“Revolution happened. The poor became rich, the rich became poor. The lady that used to have to look in the water to see her face, now she has a mirror. They raped the pyramids. The farmer who used to go to the field with an axe, now he goes with a gun. Three people leave their homes in the morning, two come back in the evening.”

Larry Gagosian

“I started selling posters because I thought I could make more money that way than parking cars. Simple as that. I saw somebody else selling posters and I basically just copied their business. It was a total lack of imagination.”

Jeremy Deller

“Genuine boredom… bloody hell, I remember boredom. It’s amazing! Sunday afternoon, on a wet Sunday afternoon, that’s when you sort of took to your bedroom and got your books out or something.”

Hossein Amanat

“One gets very impressed by the forms in Iranian architecture. One of the greatest messages is the sequence of volumes: how an outdoor space, say, can give you an impression of enclosure, and then you come to a smaller space, or a lower or higher space, the interrelations of different volumes and proportions — the time it takes to walk through, the amount of light you experience as you pass…”

Rokni Haerizadeh’s The Reign of Winter

When the sheets are all sewn together, the work will represent an unlikely, if not maudlin, take on this exploding piñata of privilege.

Tongues: Glossolalia going viral

Amid the rising, falling tide of gobbledygook the preacher would suddenly start to shout in Somali.

The Imaginary Elsewhere: How not to think about diasporic art

The political import of these works has less to do with representation than with the pleasures and perils of storytelling, the effort to recast the everyday into mythical structures that speak to universal desires.

Aliens: The Arabs of Bosnia and the War on Terror

Banners like Non-Alignment and Islam can be taken down and rolled up as circumstances dictate, but people often get left behind.

Gulfiwood: Culture and society in South Asian Arabia

There is a body of cinema about life in the Gulf, that is consumed by the majority of the population of the Gulf, that requires no special pleading or state subsidy to exist — the popular culture of the Arab working class, most of whom happen to be Indian.

Model UNESCO: A Roundtable: With Sarah Rifky, Nadia Ayari, Annabel Daou, Ranya Husami, and Mahmoud Khaled

American participation in the International Cairo Biennale has been wrongheadedly PC, expensive, beautiful, boring, and/or outright controversial.

Imprisoned Airs: A conversation with Salar Abdoh

In life, Reza Abdoh inspired all manner of fantastical tales.

Haj to Utopia

They were drawn from a seemingly incoherent mix of -isms: pan-Islamism, Irish republicanism and Bolshevism.

The Colonel

In 2006, I was asked to address an audience in Tehran on the novels of Orhan Pamuk.

Notes on a Century

Alongside these formidable accomplishments, there is a Bernard Lewis who is reviled by leftish academia and who is surrounded by dubious sycophants.

Jumana Manna: The apparatus of the game

Here, the touch of her swim coach’s hand can stand in for all the sexual slippage of a woman coming of age in water.

A Very Still Life: Jack Kevorkian and the muse of genocide

Quite at home in the museum, the severed head of a young woman dangles by her hair a few feet from the reception desk.

Aleph Null: Shridhar Bapat’s undergrounds

People remember Shridhar with regret because that’s how they remember themselves — their disillusionments and disappointments, their selling out or failing to sell, their settling down and surviving.

Mona Eltahawy

“We went on hajj soon after we arrived in Saudi, and I was groped beside the Kaaba, as I was kissing the black stone — the heavenly white stone that was tainted black by the sins of humanity.”